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What makes Forensic and Applied Biology at Worcester special?

At Worcester you can study forensic science alongside the biological aspects that underpin it, deepening your understanding and enhancing your employment prospects. With the forensic content you can learn 'what' to do, but with the addition of biology you will also learn 'how' and 'why', thus gaining a more rounded body of knowledge highly valued by employers.

All of the modules are interactive and give you all important experience of applying theory in real world practical sessions. Students are taught and supported in comparatively small groups by experts in their field.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Our Forensic and Applied Biology BSc course is ranked 18th out of all Forensic Science courses across the country
  • Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. The first undergraduate degree in the country to be accredited with them for the Forensic Archaeology Component Standard
  • Excellent facilities including research labs, crime scene simulation house, geophysical equipment for detecting concealed burials and crime scene investigation kits
  • Strong industry links with West Mercia and Warwickshire police, and the Severn Area Rescue Association
  • Highly experienced staff with over 100 years combined experience in the field, giving you access to realistic scenes and real cases
  • Graduates successfully compete for both biological and forensic careers

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.


Students walking to campus smiling

Top 20 for student experience

We're in the top 20 for student experience in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Student views

Chloe, Joe and Becci share their experiences of the course

"There is a very hands on approach which I find enhances the learning. My personal favourite session was when the on-site crime scene house was set up for us to go and investigate, we managed to link it to a car and then to a ' body dump site' it was amazing!!"

Liz Webb, Forensic and Applied Biology student

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

96-104
UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology and A2 another science, maths or statistics.

104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology.

Other qualifications, such as BTEC in Applied Science or equivalent, and Access to Higher Education (with at least 15 credits of Biological Sciences gained), will also be considered.

Don't quite meet the entry requirements or returning to education? Consider studying a Biological Science with Foundation Year.

Other information

Non-standard entry via the exploratory essay route is available.

The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ.

If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice on 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from http://www.ucas.com

Two students looking into their microscopes whilst the lecturer leans over the lab counter to talk to them.

Biological sciences foundation year

If you don't quite meet the entry requirements or you're returning to education then you might consider studying this degree with a foundation year.

Find out more
Visitors at a University of Worcester open day

Book your place at an Open Day

Want to know why so many students love living and studying in Worcester?

Our Open Days are the perfect way to find out.

Book your place
Biomedical Science BSc: a biomedical science student using the lab equipment available on our biomedical science degree.

Introduction to Studying Biological Sciences at University of Worcester

If you are interested in studying Biological Sciences (Animal Biology, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Science, Forensic & Applied Biology, Human Biology, Human Nutrition, Medical Sciences) with us and want to know more, then please join us for this taster event where you can learn about Worcester University and the courses and take part in taster sessions with lecturers who will introduce you to the studying Biological Sciences at University level.

The taster will include mini talks from current students covering their own research projects that they have conducted. There will also be an opportunity to have a Q&A with staff members.

The event will take place on Wednesday 3 November 

 

 

Time

Activity

 

Person

17:00 – 17:10

 

An introduction to Biological Sciences at the University of Worcester

 

 

Dr Mike Wheeler

17:10 – 17:30

 

Course Talk with interactive Chat Room – What do you do after a Biological Sciences degree?

 

Dr Mike Wheeler    Dr Amy Cherry

17:30 – 17:50

Can monoclonal antibodies cure cancer?

Dr Steve Coles

17:50-18:00

 

Break

 

 

18:00 – 18:20

 

Epidemiological tools used to understand the Covid 19 pandemic

 

Dr Mathieu Di Miceli

18:20 – 18:40

 

Drug development and resistance: an ongoing battle

 

 

Dr Amy Cherry

18:40 – 19:00

 

Live Q&A with course team and current students

 

 

Staff and students

         

Book your place
Kate Unwin

Forensic Science Team Recognised in Prestigious Awards

The University of Worcester’s Forensic Science team was awarded second place at the HE Innovate Awards, which is open to all universities across the UK, in the most innovative hybrid / blended learning project category. The team created an immersive and interactive crime scene simulation package for its students and was recognised for its innovative work creating virtual crime scenes.

These interactive tasks mock-up incidents that crime scene investigators might be called out to, such as a hit and run, a burglary or murder. The simulation package presented students with a range of images of the ‘scene’ from different angles, and some 360-degree images. Users are given initial information, for example, what has occurred, their role and the requirement for them at the scene. Students then have to look around the scene working out what areas are of importance.

There are a number of “hot spots” within a scene which can include additional documentation and participants put their knowledge and techniques into action, working through a series of questions, prompts and requirements to identify and analyse the evidence and draw conclusions.

You can find out more about this award in our recent press release.

Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

Mandatory

  • Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Introduction to Forensic Sciences
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences

Optional

  • Introduction to Human Nutrition
  • Introduction to Ecology
  • Comparative Animal Physiology
  • Introduction to Human Biology and Disease
  • Introduction to Biological Chemistry and Genetics
  • Human Origins
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Project and Career Development
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Medical Forensic Science

Optional           

  • Work Experience
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Agents and Allergens
  • Plant Biology
  • Human Genetics
  • Human Systems Physiology
  • Integrated Human Metabolism
  • Environmental Archaeology
  • Death & Burial
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Independent Study
  • Interpretation, Evaluation and Reporting of Evidence
  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Biological Indicators for Crime Reporting
  • Pharmacology

Optional

  • Work Experience
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Genomics & Bioinformatics
  • Extension Module
  • Parasitology
  • Research Methods & Research Project

Classes and experiences

Typical student experiences include investigating a sheep brain in the lab, skeletal detection and recovery field studies and work with local police forces. 
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, practical work, field work, video presentations, group tutorials, discussions, directed reading, and formative assessments. The first year also includes study skills sessions. The course is very practical and offers you the opportunity to undertake an independent project in your third year. The emphasis on the development of 'hands on' practical skills will provide you with useful skills for your future career.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have an opportunity to take a work experience module in your second or third year, to engage with an Erasmus scheme and spend a semester abroad, or to become involved in staff research through the Vacation Research Assistantship Scheme.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 16 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of lectures
  • 11 hours of supervised laboratory practicals
  • 1 hour of group workshops
  • 1 hour of Study Skills (first year only)

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 27 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve going over your lecture notes and reading around the topic in order to reinforce the content, completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. You will mainly be taught by senior academics, but visiting speakers with specialised expertise may deliver some sessions. Technicians support practical sessions.

Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 93 per cent of course lecturers in the Biological Sciences have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. Twenty per cent also have Teaching Fellowships from the University of Worcester. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include practical reports, presentations, posters, on-line activities, essays and examinations (which may be practical, written, data analysis, seen exams or open book exams).

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1
1 Essay
1 Forensic statement
2 Practical tests
2 Practical files
5 exams

Year 2
2 forensic case notes and statements
2 in class tests
3 practical reports
3 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 portfolio of evidence
1 data exercise
1 research proposal
1 CV and practice job interview

Year 3
1 Independent study report
1 poster presentation
3 examinations of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 court room assessment
1 in class test
3 forensic case notes / witness statement
1 portfolio
1 essay
1 online activity

Feedback

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

Here are a few of the current Forensic tutors and guest speakers. The biological aspects on the course will be taught by our specialist Biology tutors.

kate-unwin

Kate Unwin

Kate has been a Forensic Biologist since February 2002 and has worked in this area and role since that time, first with the Forensic Science Service as a Reporting Officer and then with Cellmark Forensic Services (to date).

During Kate's time as a Forensic Scientist she has worked on hundreds of criminal cases, including offences such as sexual offences, serious assaults, murder, burglary, fraud and hit and run. Throughout Kate's time as a Forensic Scientist she has examined evidence, both within a laboratory environment and at scenes of crimes. Kate has been classified as an expert witness and her areas of expertise include body fluid evidence, damage assessment and DNA profiling. Kate has given evidence in both Crown and Magistrates courts (her first court appearance being at the Old Bailey!).

Kate has worked alongside the Police, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), Defence Scientists, CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) and a wide range of specialists and world leaders in the field of Forensic Science.

Kate is currently involved in training and awareness sessions for three local police forces.

During Kate's time at the University of Worcester she have used her extensive case work experience to develop a course which gives students a true insight into the world of Forensic Science. Furthermore, the course is enhanced by the use of real case examples and Kate has a passion for enabling students to carry out as much practical work as possible to enhance the theory delivered on the course and maximize their employability opportunities.

dr-beverley-adams-groom

Dr Beverley Adams-Groom

Beverley is a leading expert in pollen forecasting and provides the UK and Ireland with forecasts for all the main airborne allergens, aided by colleagues in the pollen forecast team, and working in association with the UK Met Office. The main discipline for this work is Aerobiology, which is the study of the production, emission and dispersal of biological particles (bioaerosols).

Beverley is also involved in the field of Palynology, which is the study of microscopic biological particles (mainly pollen and spore identification). She applies this in the quality assurance of honeys for the UKs honey companies and analysts. This is a form of forensic work, involving identification of pollen extracted from honey of various countries to ensure the origin and floral composition. Beverley has also worked extensively on crime cases, applying palynology to produce evidence of links between suspect and crime scene.

keith-unwin

Keith Unwin

I first became a Forensic scientist in 2000, shortly after I graduated with honours in Applied Biology from Newcastle University. Since that time I have worked for two of the largest Forensic providers in the country. During my time as a court going Reporting officer, I have been involved in many high profile investigation and scenes. I have also been involved in the training of Forensic scientists and police officers in areas of scene examination and court reporting.

In 2011 I became a lecturer at the University of Worcester alongside my role as a Forensic scientist. I found that enjoyed it and that I got great satisfaction from seeing students develop, learn and grow through the three year course and go on to become scientific professionals in their own rights.

mike wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler is Head of Biological Sciences.

Mike joined the University of Worcester in 2010 after researching in the area of plant molecular genetics. Mike developed a strong background in the biology of cell signalling in plants, with specific research into the mechanisms of self-incompatibility in poppy and the control of polarity in pollen tubes of tobacco. He is currently investigating the function of a large family of secreted proteins likely to be involved in cell-cell communication in the model plants, Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patens.

In addition to his research into plant molecular genetics Mike is also developing means of using molecular biology to solve problems in conservation biology which is a longstanding passion of his. In this area Mike is currently developing eDNA (environmental DNA) techniques to assess the effect of invasive and non-native species on species of conservation concern. Mike is also currently involved in a scheme to improve winter feeding for farmland birds at Lakeside campus in partnership with the local RSPB group.

Mike is a member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group.

dr-kate-ashbrook

Dr Kate Ashbrook

Kate's background includes four years of post-doctoral studies at the University of Bath and a period as a field researcher for the Canadian Wildlife Service where she contributed to long-term monitoring of a seabird colony in Nunavut, Canada.

Her research interests focus on using modelling to understand the dynamics of ecological systems and inform conservation management.

dr-steven-j-coles

Dr Steven J Coles

Steve joined the University of Worcester in 2013, following 5 years post-doctoral experience at Cardiff University, School of Medicine (Section of Haematology), working with Professors Tonks and Darley. During his time at Cardiff, Steve investigated the role of the immune checkpoint molecule, CD200, in a type of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Since joining us, Steve has introduced several new modules to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences curriculum that align with his expertise, including: Immunology and  Biochemistry of Cancer.

Steve has also helped to establish and lead the Worcester Biomedical Research Group, where the research focusses on Cancer, Neurodegeneration and Cardiovascular Disease.

ray-camilleri

Dr Ray Camilleri

Ray joined the academic staff at the University of Worcester in September 2017 as a Senior Lecturer, Course Leader and Admissions Tutor of our biomedical course.

He is also a member of the Worcester Biomedical Research Group and Health, Life and Environment Research Ethics Committee.

Ray’s research has been focused on the genetic and phenotypic links between von Willebrand factor-cleaving protease and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

 

dr-amy-cherry

Dr Amy Cherry

Dr Amy Cherry joined the University of Worcester following postdoctoral positions at the National Institute of Medical Research and the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Her research focuses on understanding how proteins work at the molecular level and on how one can use knowledge of protein structure to tackle disease.

dr-rob-herbert

Dr Rob Herbert

Dr Rob Herbert is the quality co-ordinator for the School of Science and the Environment and a Principal Lecturer in Biology.

Rob has been with the University since 1992 and leads the Cell Biology module in year 1 and the Research Project module in year 3, both of which are taken by students on all of the courses in the department of Biological Sciences.  He has a background in plant cell biology, specifically flowering and the plant cell cycle and has, more recently, begun to look at problems with crop plants such as post-harvest storage, senescence and susceptibility to disease. He has a long standing research collaboration with Cardiff University.  His last three papers covered the expression of cell cycle gene WEE1 from Arabidopsis thaliana in tobacco, an analysis of volatile and molecular markers in melon to identify potential makers for food quality assessment and the effect of post-harvest stress on volatile organic compounds in early post-harvest senescence in salad rocket. It is unexpected to find a rocket scientist in a Biology department.

Rob is a member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group.

Careers

Where could it take you?

Employability

This course provides you with the core biology skills and knowledge to make you suitable candidates for all the biological careers available to those students on the mainstream biology programmes as well as forensic areas. These include:

  • Research
  • Biological testing
  • Teacher training
  • Medical sales
  • Diagnostics testing
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Forensic biology / sciences
  • Civil services
  • The police force
  • Further study - Masters / PhD.

There is a good employability rate for this course upon successful completion with our graduates going on to enjoy a variety of opportunities from Forensic toxicology, Forensic DNA analysis, Science based laboratory positions and further studies which include Phd/MSc/MRes in a number areas such as Genetics / Molecular studies, Forensic Anthropology and teaching qualifications.

This course prepares you for a range of careers in different fields and services, including the police force, fire service, local government and planning, laboratory and environmental research, Civil Service or teaching and all biology careers available to those on a traditional biology degree course (due to the unique combination of forensic and core biology course content).

You will have opportunities to develop a wide range of intellectual, practical and social skills. These include primary research using both quantitative and qualitative techniques, data collection and analysis, oral and verbal communication, critical evaluation and laboratory techniques.

In addition to transferable academic skills, you will develop skills and the confidence to operate in both the forensic area and a wide variety of other work environments.

For example, Biologists who can look at evidence and make measured and reasoned arguments are not only required in scientific fields but also in the media, retailing and finance to ensure there is a balanced view relating to new technology and the estimation of risk.

There is also a need for people to be able to explain these scientific arguments in 'lay' terms, not only in teaching but also in a wide range of other vocations.

Two students are walkng next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential.
Costs

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £13,100 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2021/22 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module, £2,313 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Laura Owen

Laura Owen

Laura Owen has completed a BSc (Hons) in Forensic and Applied Biology, having returned to higher education later in life.

“Before studying at the University of Worcester, I had spent a 17-year career in childcare where I had been fortunate enough to work both here and abroad including Egypt and Portugal,” said Laura. “I decided it was time for a career change, an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and face completely new challenges.”

“I found myself rather anxious about returning to education in my mid 30s but soon realised how supportive fellow students are of each other, along with tutors, who realise how dedicated and passionate mature students are towards their studies,” she said. “Studying at the University of Worcester was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

During her degree, Laura volunteered for two years with West Mercia Police within their Forensic Enhancement Laboratory, and after completing her studies secured the role of Forensic Scene Investigator with West Midlands Police.

I am not surprised that the Introduction to Forensic Science module has just won a student's choice award, my first year has been extremely exciting learning all about the different types of evidence that can be detected, collected and interpreted.

Liz Webb, Forensic and Applied Biology student

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Forensic and Applied Biology BSc (Single Honours) - FC41

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

 

Kate Unwin

Award Leader

SSE Academic Support Unit